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Belfast Tattoo revving up to make 2017 best ever

By Luke Barnes

The Belfast Tattoo only ended two weeks ago - but preparations are already under way for next year's spectacular.

And one of the stars of 2017 is expected to be a five-year-old performer with a motorcycle stunt team.

The Winnipeg Police Band from Canada and the Imps Motorcycle Display Team are already confirmed for 2017.

Founded in 1920, the Winnipeg Police Band have performed in their Royal Stewart Tartan to audiences all over the world, including in Las Vegas and Afghanistan.

The Imps are a motorcycle display team with a difference - their youngest performer is only five. The group started out as a children's charity more than 40 years ago and have grown famous for their fire jumps, cross-overs and moving pyramids.

They have performed all over the world in their distinctive red tunics, and next year are set to wow crowds in Belfast.

Traditional Irish flute bands from Kellswater and Cahard will also attend next year, and the Spanish Lume De Biqueira Bagpipe Band will return to Belfast for the first time since 2014.

More than 600 performers attended this year's annual Tattoo.

Visitors came from as far away as New Zealand, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

The Combined Drum Corps of the Coldstream and Irish Guards, as well as the Regimental Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, entertained the audience with their military precision.

The event also commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. BBC2 will broadcast a one-hour special of the Tattoo this Saturday at 9pm.

Belfast Tattoo senior drum major Brian Wilson described the show as "magnificent" and an example of "local talent at its best".

Colin Wasson, a producer for the Belfast Tattoo, said: "The Belfast Tattoo 2016 was, without a doubt, the biggest and most memorable show we have presented to date.

"We look forward now to the Belfast Tattoo 2017 which will be bigger and better than 2016."

Tickets for next year's Tattoo will go on sale this Saturday at 10am.

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